—-FemPop Magazine: Wonder Woman vs. Lois Lane: Why are we forced to choose? http://www.fempop.com/2012/09/10/wonder-woman-beats-lois-lane-in-a-battle-of-women/
Great article that makes several important points.
Asking women to choose between Lois and Diana—-putting the two most famous women in DC history in the position of being pit against each other—-isn’t just wrong…it’s insulting to the history of both women.
And that’s exactly what DC Comics did when they went on National television and didn’t correct anyone when it was reported that Superman “dumped” his wife for a “new sexy sidekick.” It was sexist. It was wrong.
Diana and Lois Lane always will and always have represented two different sides of the same coin in terms of female empowerment.
Wonder Woman represented the ideal of what women could be and achieve if we were not subjected to the chains of institutionlized sexism. What could we do if we weren’t chained down by misogyny? We could literally save the world. She was and is the dream of what could be.
But there is another side to that coin as this article clearly states.
Because if Wonder Woman was the woman that represented what we could be if we were NOT subjected to the chains of institutiolized sexism then Lois Lane was the woman who showed us what we could achieve if we WERE and we FOUGHT BACK.
Lois Lane was born in the World of Man. She was oppressed in the World of Man. And she fought back by rising to the top of a male dominated profession to be the best in her career.
There was a distinctly feminist message in Superman—-our greatest male hero who was truly supposed to be a “super” man (Aka better than the average man who would and could oppress women) choosing to love a woman who was not a supermodel—-but at the top of her profession. A flawed, human woman that had incredible inner power that came not from her body but from her mind and her passion.
Just as there was a distinctly feminist message (that has now been lost)in Wonder Woman coming to the world of man and not being treated as a love interest or sex object for her male peers but as their friend and collegue thereby discounting the concept that women must always be viewed through the male lens. Yes, Wonder Woman had a stunning body and she wore a bathing suit but it wasn’t for a man. It wasn’t seen through the eyes of a man. It shouldn’t have been. Until now.
The comparison of Lois to Penelope is an apt one and it’s not the first time that Superman and Lois Lane have been compared within a narrative text to one of the most famous married couples in history—-Odysseus and Penelope. In fact, the theme of Superman finding his way “home” to Lois Lane has been a repeated themetic choice over and over again both in comics and in live action. Most recently, it was a thematic choice in the final seasons of Smallville with an episode specifically entitled, “Odyssey” that revolved around Clark finding his way back “home” and ultimately finding his next to Lois Lane at the Daily Planet—a sentiment that she returned many times over.
Smallville, is my home Clark. Not this one….but this Smallville…right here. You’re all I’ll ever need.—Lois Lane
What many people forget about Penelope—-and often forget about Lois—was that she wasn’t just sitting on the sidelines waiting for her man to come home. She held the entire Kingdom together while he was gone. She was the backbone of the narrative. It was her strength and grace under fire that kept Ithaca from falling into the hands of the enemies while the King was away. She was a powerful heroine in her own right even though she never picked up a sword. Spells were cast upon her husband. He was tricked and persuaded to stray from his wife. But eventually he found his way home.
Bottom line? Both of these women represented female power and agency in different but equally valid and important ways. DC’s choice to put a man between them has downgraded both women on the altar of a man. It’s unfortunate. It’s wrong.
We should never have to choose between rising above man’s world and dreaming of a day in which we don’t have to do it.